Parents have told us that child poverty is a big issue in Wales today: a staggering 84% of those we polled said this was the case.

NEU Cymru believes the election provides a chance for real change for those living in poverty in Wales. Mike O'Neill, NEU assistant secretary, Merthyr Tydfil, said:

"In the last few years the impact of child poverty has become acute. Clothes worn until they are threadbare, the school lunch being the only warm meal that day, and homework not completed because the lights had to go off by 6 in order to pay the bill.  Stories written in class by children talk of food banks, money worries and a general, pervading sense of mundanity; mouths to feed and bills to pay should not be the subject matter of choice when a child writes a story. Yet, as we approach a new decade, we face the same challenges fought a century ago. The wonder and excitement felt by young children for what the school day may have in store has been replaced with a plodding, Dickensian realism that should make the Gradgrinds of Government ashamed."

David Evans, Wales secretary for NEU Cymru said: "Children going hungry in our schools is completely unacceptable. We believe that years of austerity, coupled with crippling benefit changes, has meant that there has been a real impact on poverty in Wales. We welcome attempts made to tackle things like holiday hunger, but nothing can mitigate the impact of cuts across the system, imposed by Westminster. This election is a chance to look again at child poverty, and vote for a government in the UK who cares about children. Without tackling poverty, we can't deal with education inequality.

“This is added to the findings from our teacher poll, which showed that poverty is having a huge impact in the classroom - with over half telling us their students were hungry or had ill health.

“With the IFS predicting 40% of children will be living in poverty by 2022, now is the time to act.”

ENDS

Press contacts:

The National Education Union is an amalgamation of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) and National Union of Teachers (NUT), formed on 1 September 2017. Please see the below contact details for assistance:

Contact: David Evans, National Education Union, Tŷ Sinnott, 18 Neptune Court, Vanguard Way, Cardiff CF24 5PJ.  Tel: 029 20491818. Mob: 07815 071164.

e-mail: david.evans@neu.org.uk